Keena Ruth Rothhammer (born February 26, 1957) is an American former competition swimmer, Olympic champion, and former world record-holder in two events.

Rothhammer was born in Little Rock, Arkansas, and she was raised in a Jewish family.[1] As a teenager, she trained with the Santa Clara Swim Club in Santa Clara, California, under the coach George Haines, who was noted for leading U.S. Olympic swimmers during the 1960s and 1970s.

As a 15-year-old, Rothhammer represented the United States at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, Germany. She won the gold medal in the women's 800-meter freestyle and set a new world record in the event twice, on successive days.[1] She also won the bronze medal in the women's 200-meter freestyle at the 1972 Olympics. At the 1973 World Aquatics Championships, she won the 200-meter freestyle and finished second in the 400-meter freestyle.[1] The same year, she was named North American Athlete of the Year.[1]

She was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame as an "Honor Swimmer" in 1991.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d Taylor, Paul (2004). Jews and the Olympic Games: The Clash Between Sport and Politics : with a Complete Review of Jewish Olympic Medallists. Sussex Academic Press. ISBN 9781903900871. 
  2. ^ International Swimming Hall of Fame, Honorees, Keena Rothhammer (USA). Retrieved October 19, 2012.

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Preceded by
Shane Gould
Women's 400-meter freestyle
world record-holder (long course)

August 22, 1973 – June 28, 1974
Succeeded by
Heather Greenwood
Preceded by
Jo Harshbarger
Women's 800-meter freestyle
world record-holder (long course)

September 3, 1972 – September 9, 1973
Succeeded by
Novella Calligaris